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Short list: What's Wrong with Factory Farming?


What's Wrong with Factory Farming?


The intent of presenting this data is not to "demonize farmers, many of whom went into the business out of a desire to work with nature and be close to the land, and don't like what's going on any more than you or me. But something has happened to the way animals are treated in modern meat production that is a disgrace to the human spirit, and a violation of the ancient human-animal bond...

The process of rearing farm animals in the US has changed dramatically from the family farms of yesteryear. This reality, coupled with the exemption of farm animals from laws that forbid cruelty to animals, has produced a heartbreaking situation. More animals are subjected to more tortuous conditions in the US today than has ever occurred anywhere in world history. Never before have the choices of each individual been so important." John Robbins, The Food Revolution (2001)

Statistics*

* All statistics and information compiled from The Food Revolution by John Robbins (2001), Diet for a New America by John Robbins (1987), Frances Moore Lappe's Diet for a Small Planet and the Rainforest Action Network.

Excrement:

Production of excrement by total US human population: 12,000 pounds/second

Production of excrement by US livestock: 250,000 pounds/second (including 25 pounds of manure per cow per day)

Sewage systems in US cities: Common

Sewage systems in US feedlots: None

Amount of waste produced annually by US livestock in confinement operations which is not recycled: 1 billion tons

Where feedlot waste often ends up: In our water

Gallons of oil spilled by the Exxon-Valdez: 12 million

Gallons of putrefying hog urine and feces spilled into the New River in North Carolina on June 21, 1995, when a "lagoon" holding 8 acres of hog excrement burst: 25 million

Fish killed as an immediate result: 10-14 million

Antibiotic Resistance:

Antibiotics administered to people in the US annually to treat diseases: 3 million pounds

Antibiotics administered to livestock in the US annually for purposes other than treating disease: 24.6 million pounds

Antibiotics allowed in cow's milk: 80

Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin in 1960: 13%

Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin in 1988: 91%

Reason: Breeding of antibiotic resistant bacteria in factory farms due to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock

Response by entire European Economic Community to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: Ban

Response by American meat and pharmaceutical industries to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: Full and complete support

Numbers of Animals Slaughtered for Food in US:

Number of cows and calves slaughtered every 24 hours in the US: 90,000

Number of chickens slaughtered every minute in the US: 14,000

Food animals (not counting fish and other aquatic creatures) slaughtered per year in the US: 10 billion

Slaughterhouse:

Transcript of New York Times full page ad published June 22, 2001 detailing the horrors of our modern-day slaughterhouses. With 309-330 cows per hour coming by on the "disassembly" line, there are many who are still fully conscious with eyes wide open when skinned and cut apart. They die literally piece by piece.

Factory Farm Animals with Diseases from Intensive Conditions:

A report by the USDA estimates that 89% of US beef patties contain traces of the deadly E. coli strain. Reuters News Service 8/10/00

US pigs raised in total confinement factories where they never see the light of day until being trucked to slaughter: 65 million (total confinement factories are banned in Britain)

US pigs who have pneumonia at time of slaughter: 70%

Primary source of Campylobacter bacteria: Contaminated chicken flesh

People in the US who become ill with Campylobacter poisoning every day: More than 5,000

American turkeys sufficiently contaminated with Campylobacter to cause illness: 90%

Americans sickened from eating Salmonella-tainted eggs every year: More than 650,000

Americans killed from eating Salmonella-tainted eggs every year: 600

Increase in Salmonella poisoning from raw or undercooked eggs between 1976 and 1986: 600%

90% of US chickens are infected with leukosis -- chicken cancer -- at the time of slaughter.

Average lifespan of a dairy cow - 25 years; average lifespan when on a factory dairy farm - 4 years.

Water:

Water needed to produce 1 pound of wheat: 25 gallons

Water needed to produce 1 pound of meat: 2,500 gallons

Cost of hamburger meat if water used by meat industry was not subsidized by US taxpayers: $35/pound

When water shortages occur, citizens are often requested to not wash cars, water lawns and to use low-flow shower heads. However, cutting back on meat consumption would save much more water given that the water required to produce just ten pounds of steak equals the water consumption of the average household for a year.

About 70% of the water used in the 11 western states is dedicated to the raising of animals for food.

Years until the Ogallala Aquifer runs dry (formed by glaciers, the largest underground lake in the world and source of fresh water beneath an area from Texas to South Dakota, and Missouri to Colorado): 30 to 50

The amount of water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer would float a (Naval) destroyer. (Newsweek article "The Browning of America")

Advertising:

Amount spent annually by Kellogg's to promote Frosted Flakes: $40 million

Amount spent annually by the dairy industry on "milk mustache" ads: $190 million

Amount spent annually by McDonald's advertising its products: $800 million

Amount spent by the National Cancer Institute promoting fruits and vegetables: $1 million.